Spirits

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Kraken Unleashes a new Monster

The Kraken Unleashes a new Monster

by David Klemt

The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum bottle

The Kraken, which claims to be the top-selling black spiced rum in the world, has released another monster: the Kraken Gold Spiced Rum.

This new release is a direct shot across the bow of the Captains, Sailors, and Admirals that have long commanded the spiced rum category. In other words, you know exactly which brands the Kraken is challenging with this expression.

Of course, this also gives you and your bar team a new spiced rum to introduce to guests. As it turns out, spiced rum is the most popular of the rum categories.

In June of 2020, Drizly launched BevAlc Insights by Drizly. The data-focused platform can provide operators with insights into consumer behavior and preferences. After all, if they’re ordering specific products for delivery to drink at home, they’ll expect the restaurants and bars they visit to have them on their menus.

Per BevAlc Insights, spiced rum boasted a 27-percent share in comparison to other styles in 2021. Interestingly, dark rum, according to BevAlc, held only a five-percent share. Those interested in this data can learn more reviewing BevAlc Insights’ 2021 Rum Forecast.

As far as what to expect on the nose and palate, tasting notes make mention of aromas of banana bread, caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, and oak. One reviewer on YouTube likens the nose to that of Bumbu Rum. Vanilla and oak carry through to the finish, with the top flavors being molasses, dark spice, and caramelized sugar.

The Kraken Rum Launches A New Gold Spiced Rum

The Top-Selling Rum Brand Unveils Its Latest Gold Treasure

Jersey City, NJ, March 7, 2023—Today, the world’s first and top-selling black spiced rum brand, The Kraken® Rum, emerges from its lair in the depths of the ocean to enter into the gold spiced rum category with a new release. A smooth and rich liquid, The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum is here to set THE NEW GOLD STANDARD in the rum category making waves for captains, sailors, and admirals alike.

The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum: The Product

Introducing THE NEW GOLD STANDARD for sipping: a gold spiced Caribbean rum, rich beyond words—and perhaps the only bit of lightness the legendary beast, known as “the Kraken,” loves with as much passion as its storied black ink. On the nose, The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum reveals a sweet brown medley of caramel, oak, and banana bread. Flavors of molasses and dark spice fade into caramelized sugar, with a slight finish of toasted oak and vanilla.

“As gold spiced rum occasions are now the highest among the rum category, we are proud to introduce this new offering from The Kraken, with a flavor profile all its own,” said Lander Otegui, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Proximo Spirits. “We are confident that this product will be THE NEW GOLD STANDARD in spiced rum thanks to its superb taste that we know matches what our consumers are looking for.”

A study conducted on the popularity of spiced rum brands showed The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum as a clear category favorite. Proximo Spirits commissioned a third-party double blind taste test study against category competitor, Captain Morgan®. The study revealed more than 70% of consumers prefer The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum over Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum. Furthermore, participants also overwhelmingly indicated The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum both has “superior taste” and is “the smoothest.”1

  • Aroma: Sweet brown medley of caramel, oak, and banana bread. Rich vanilla with light cinnamon backtone.
  • Flavor: Molasses and dark spice fading into caramelized sugar. Slight finish of toasted oak and vanilla.

The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum is 35% ABV and sold nationwide at a $21.99 MSRP per 750ml. It is also available in 1L and 1.75L bottles.

“Take of Gold” New Campaign

To bring The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum from sip to screen, the brand is launching a new visual campaign, “Tale of Gold.” The advertisement, directed by Rich Lee who’s known for his work on the first three The Pirates of the Caribbean films, draws consumers into the dark world of the Kraken. Moody, foreboding visuals divulge the action-packed narrative of unworthy pirates who try to steal the precious treasure of gold from its lair and are thwarted by the Kraken.

The Kraken Golden Hour Sweepstakes

Before it dives back into the darkness, The Kraken is celebrating its newly released Gold Spiced Rum by giving consumers an opportunity to win a Golden Hour experience in the Dominican Republic.To enter The Kraken Golden Hour Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to the home of The Kraken Rum, scan the QR code or visit KrakenGoldenHour.com for more information.

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Purchasing a product will not improve your chances of winning. Must be documented resident of the U.S. or D.C., age 21 or older as of date of entry. Registration begins at 12:00am ET on February 1, 2023 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 30, 2023. To enter, and for complete official rules including eligibility, prize description and approximate retail value, scan the QR code using your mobile device’s camera or directly visit www.krakengoldenhour.com. Winner selected in random drawing. Odds of winning are based on the total number of eligible entries received. No alcoholic beverage is part of any prize award. Void wherever prohibited or restricted by law. SPONSOR: Proximo Spirits, Inc., 3 Second Street, Suite 1101, Jersey City, NJ 07302.  

To learn more about The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum and the rest of the Kraken’s keep, visit KrakenRum.com and follow The Kraken Rum on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

1 Taste-tests were conducted in April 2022 by TasteMakers Research Group in a blind study.

About The Kraken® Rum

AS IT IS TOLD, The Kraken Rum is an imported rum from the Caribbean blended with secret spices. Named for the sea beast of myth and legend, The Kraken Rum is bold, rich, and smooth. The Kraken Rum portfolio includes The Kraken Black Spiced Rum, made from unique Caribbean black spiced rum with a lingering spicy finish, The Kraken Gold Spiced Rum with a toasted oak and vanilla finish that’s smooth and tasteful, and ready-to-drink The Kraken Rum canned cocktails in flavors: Rum Punch, Cola and Ginger Beer. AS THEY SAY, “To not respect the power of the Kraken is to not respect the sea.” So, drink with respect.

The Kraken® Gold Spiced Rum. Rum with Natural Flavors and Caramel Color. 35% Alc./Vol. (70 proof). ©2023 Kraken Rum Co., Jersey City, NJ, Like the deepest sea, The Kraken® should be treated with great respect and responsibility.

Captain Morgan® is a registered trademark of Diageo North America, Inc. and referred to for product identification. Pirates of the Caribbean® is a registered trademark of Disney Enterprises, Inc. and referred to for Rich Lee’s background experience with the film franchise.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, from the Kraken Rum, Proximo Spirits, or any other entity in exchange for this post.

Image: The Kraken Rum

KRG Hospitality spirit education

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Datassential: The Flavors of 2023

Datassential: The Flavors and Menu Items of 2023

by David Klemt

Basket of hot chicken wings

Food and beverage market research agency Datassential has some data-driven thoughts on the flavors and menu items that will define 2023.

Featured in their latest Foodbytes report are 20 items for operators to consider this year. There are ten food items, drinks, and ingredients Datassential predicts will be on basically every menu.

And there are another ten food items, drinks, and ingredients the agency feels could suddenly hit in 2023.

For you own copy of Datassential’s 2023 Food Trends, click here.

Prolific Performers

As Datassential refers to them in their report, these are the items “that will be everywhere” this year.

Food

  • Birria. This one makes sense as birria only appears to be capable of continually growing in popularity.
  • Mushroom. In Datassential’s opinion, we should expect more menus to feature mushroom snacks. Also, expect to see (or add yourself) lesser-known, rare, and exotic mushrooms on menus.
  • Salsa macha. Over the past four years, according to Datassential, salsa macha as grown a staggering 339 percent on menus.

Drink

  • London Fog. A compelling earl grey tea latte.
  • Mangonada. Salty, tart, fruity, and bold, the Mangonada is a flavorful frozen drink.
  • Ranch Water. Simple, timeless, and refreshing. In 2022, per Datassential, Ranch Water was the fastest-growing cocktail.
  • Soju. According to Datassential, soju is the third fastest-growing spirit on restaurant and bar menus.

Ingredient

  • Spicy maple. As the image atop this article suggests, expect spicy maple to replace or at least give hot honey a run for its money.
  • Ube. A striking purple yam from the Philippines.
  • Yuzu. Datassential predicts this citrus fruit will start showing up on many chain restaurant menus.

Promising Performers

In Datassential’s data-driven opinion, the following items need to be on every operator’s radar.

These are the items that have the potential to “hit it big” in 2023.

Food

  • Pickled strawberries. Interestingly, this matches up with Technomic’s trend prediction for the US, Canadaworldwide, really.
  • Savory granola. Not only on its own but as an element of savory, healthy bowl.
  • Sisig. A Filipino delicacy with pork belly, pig’s face, and chicken liver as key elements.

Drink

  • White coffee. As Datassential states, “there’s always room for coffee innovation on menus.”

Ingredient

  • Black tahini. The appearance of black tahini is quite striking, making for dramatic presentations. And as we know, striking presentations are perfect for social media marketing and engagement.
  • Cannabis. The legalization of recreational cannabis use in almost half of US states is leading to innovation in this space. And as more markets legalize public consumption in the form of F&B items on-premise, restaurants and bars will add cannabis-infused items to their menus.
  • Cherry blossom, or sakura. It seems that cherry blossoms are poised to take off in the US market.
  • Chestnut flower. Per Datassential, this ingredient is gaining popularity for use in winter baked goods.
  • MSG. For decades, restaurants proudly proclaimed “no MSG” or “MSG-free” on menus due to misconceptions. Now that consumers are better educated about ingredients, restaurants are proudly proclaiming their use of MSG.
  • Verjus. An ancient juice made by crushing unripened wine grapes. It can be an ingredient in a sauce, as a condiment, or to deglaze a pan.

There you have it—20 items to consider adding in your next menu update, featuring in your next LTO, or at least keeping an eye on in 2023.

Image: Scott Eckersley on Unsplash

by krghospitality krghospitality No Comments

KRG Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Licensing Program logo

Jared Boller joins the KRG Hospitality team, serving as the agency’s in-house beverage educator, trainer, and menu developer.

TORONTO, ONTARIO—Today, KRG Hospitality is delighted to announce a new addition to their team. Jared Boller, a professional mixologist with two decades of experience, will be available to the agency’s clients for beverage menu development and training. He’ll serve as KRG’s master mixologist for North America.

Boller’s creativity, passion, and humility as a professional mixologist have led him on a journey around the globe. He has established himself as an industry leader, developing award-winning beverage programs in restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos in several markets, including Denver, New York, Florida, Toronto. Throughout his career, Boller has won several cocktail competitions, educated teams for brands and industry organizations, and appeared in numerous publications.

“Restaurants, bars, hotels, and hospitality are in dire need of not only great employees but educated employees who can execute an owner’s vision,” says Boller. “I look forward to the next stage of my hospitality career with KRG, helping to inspire the future generations in everything related to beverage. My life’s journey has led me to the perfect opportunity with the team at KRG to collectively build future and existing brands.”

Additionally, he was the featured guest on episode 12 of the Bar Hacks podcast. People curious to learn more about Boller can listen to his Bar Hacks episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

With a growing list of accolades and numerous publications to his name, Boller most recently spent three years as the national whiskey ambassador for Proximo spirits. He prides himself on educating consumers and future bartenders on artistry behind the bar and providing history lessons to everyone that will listen. Boller is eager to share his extensive knowledge of spirits, cocktails, menu development, beverage innovation, and service.

“It’s an exciting time for KRG Hospitality, adding to the team just days into 2023,” says David Klemt, director of business development at KRG. “With Jared on the team our beverage programming, menu development and curation, training, and consulting will be even stronger. I know we’re all looking forward to our clients having the opportunity to work with Jared.”

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at KRGHospitality.com. Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Image: KRG Hospitality

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

Possess this Scary Spirit for Halloween

by David Klemt

Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve hero

If you truly want to imbue your cocktails and the guest experience with the otherworldly this Halloween, you need this spirit.

In fact, this bottle likely contains the most “spirit” forward spirit one can possess. It’s also one of the rarest. Oh, and it took a rest for 30 days inside the Occult Museum.

On October 13, Harridan Vodka will launch their Paranormal Reserve officially. And if you’re after a true small-batch vodka, you’ll want to keep an eye the Paranormal Reserve countdown timer.

This is your opportunity to create and host a frighteningly unique Halloween LTO promotion.

Conjuring the Halloween Spirit

Does the Occult Museum sound familiar to you? If so, you’re likely a horror film fan or into the supernatural.

For those who don’t know, the Occult Museum was started in 1952 by Ed and Lorraine Warren. The two paranormal investigators collected a vast array of artifacts that they claimed came into contact with evil.

One of these objects is Annabelle, a cursed Raggedy Ann doll. According to lore, the doll is so dangerous it’s kept inside its own glass case. A sign attached to the case reads, “Warning, Positively Do Not Open.”

So, what could possibly be frightening about a Raggedy Ann doll? Well, this one is said to have an interesting “attachment.” That is, a demon in search of a human host that has attached itself to the doll.

To keep the demon from achieving its goal—which it reportedly began pursuing in 1970—Annabelle’s case has been blessed. The case has inscriptions of the Lord’s Prayer and Saint Michael’s Prayer. Also, it’s said that Ed Warren would recite a binding prayer over the case from time to time to ensure the demon couldn’t escape.

Supposedly, Annabelle nearly killed a priest who mocked it when he visited the Occult Museum to scrutinize the Warren’s claims of its demonic possession.

This story and more are told in The Conjuring movie series. In particular, Annabelle, Annabelle: Creation, and Annabelle Comes Home. Given that it’s October, it’s the perfect time to watch the first installment and doll-focused movies of The Conjuring universe.

In fact, this would be the month to design a promotion around The Conjuring watch parties with themed LTO cocktails.

A Frightful Rest

Okay, so I can already hear some of you asking what this has to do with Harridan Vodka. Well, calm down—I’m getting to it.

The Warren Occult Museum, located in Monroe, Connecticut, closed to the public in 2019. In other words, if you didn’t get to visit prior to its closure, you’ll most likely never have the chance to see Annabelle or the other occult artifacts contained within.

But you can purchase a bottle of 44-percent ABV vodka that rested for 30 days inside the Occult Museum: Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve.

Just 666 bottles are available, and 665 took their 30-day slumber right next to Annabelle. These bottles will retail for $199 on Thursday, October 13.

 

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A post shared by Harridan Vodka (@harridanvodka)

Obviously, that leaves one bottle we need to address. Bottle number 666 was rested inside Annabelle’s case. And while the other 665 bottles are housed inside black Ouija-themed boxes, number 666 is contained within a glass case similar to Annabelle’s.

Of course, this unique bottle comes with an appropriately otherworldly price tag: $13,000. And, hey, the person who makes this bank-balance-slashing purchase might just be in possession of the world’s only vodka infused with evil.

If you’re one of the few who manage to get their hands on these Occult Museum-rested Harridan Vodka bottles, it’s fair to say you can name your price for the opportunity for guests to buy an ounce.

Happy Halloween, ya filthy animals!

Images: Harridan Vodka

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

7 Awesome Whiskey Podcasts

7 Awesome Whiskey Podcasts

by David Klemt

Gold microphone and headphones

Our National Bourbon Heritage Month celebration and inspiration continues with a roundup of seven of the best whiskey podcasts.

Of course we want you to listen to Bar Hacks for education, inspiration, and entertainment. However, we know it isn’t the only podcast you listen to.

Below you’ll find several whiskey-centric podcasts. These are absolutely some of the best podcasts out there if you’re seeking bourbon and whiskey knowledge.

So, after you catch up to your Bar Hacks listening, work the shows below into your rotation.

Cheers!

Whiskey Lore

As regular KRG Hospitality readers and newsletter subscribers know, we love diving into history and myths. When we’re researching a spirit, cocktail, or other beverage, we tend to find more fiction than fact. Of course, the facts are also just as interesting to us, so it’s a win-win for us and you.

So, it makes sense then that we’re kicking things off with Whiskey Lore. We love the rich and compelling stories that weave the intricate story of our industry. As it turns out, so does the Whiskey Lore podcast. Currently, the podcast is digging into the history and lore of Irish whiskey.

Latest episode: Irish Whiskey Pt. 5: The Lore of the River Boyne; Marrowbone Lane; Finding Old Irish Pure Pot Still

Bourbon & Banter

Honestly, I don’t know that I can describe the Bourbon & Banter podcast any better than the minds behind the show:

“Are you seeking a bourbon podcast that will educate and entertain you without the extra bloat associated with kissing a brand’s ass in search of advertising revenue or free samples? If so, welcome home my friend… In all seriousness though, give us a listen and you’ll find that we’re honest to a fault. You won’t find us pulling any punches when it comes to new bourbon reviews or when we explore the latest industry news and consumer trends.”

Latest episode: The Doctor is In – Bourbon & Banter Podcast Special Episode

The Fred Minnick Show

If you’re a whiskey lover and don’t know the name Fred Minnick, I would find that shocking. While not always a straight-up whiskey-only podcast, the Fred Minnick Show format is compelling. Rather than focus solely on reviewing whiskey, whiskey news, and interviews with industry experts, Fred also chats with guests about a wide range of topics.

Latest episode: What’s Up With Tom Brady? NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo Returns to Talk Quarterbacks | Russell’s Reserve 6 Year

WhiskyCast

The WhiskyCast podcast has been going strong since 2005. That makes this the world’s longest-running whiskey podcast. With 17 years’ worth of podcast goodness to listen to, you’ll never be without something whisky-focused to listen to and learn from. Their most current episoide is number 966, which is just staggeringly impressive.

Latest episode: Brother’s Bond: A Bourbon “Bromance”

Bourbon Lens

With nearly 200 episodes available, Bourbon Lens is delving deep into everything bourbon. However, they also discuss other types of whiskey through conversations with founders, blenders, and other industry experts. This is a must-listen podcast for whiskey lovers.

Latest episode: Off Hours with Bourbon Lens Episode 10: Sam Montgomery from Bardstown Bourbon Co.

Bourbon Pursuit

According to the show itself, Bourbon Pursuit is “the official podcast of bourbon.” With episodes going live every few days you’ll never be without something to listen to with this podcast. Bourbon news, bourbon reviews, bourbon interviews… Bourbon Pursuit may truly be the official pod of bourbon.

Latest episode: TWiB: Kentucky Bourbon Benefit Raises $1.4M, Little Book Series Launches “To The Finish”, Four Roses 2022 Limited Edition Small Batch

Dads Drinking Bourbon

The hosts of Dads Drinking Bourbon want you to #rethinkhowyoudrink. With this podcast you’ll get to hear blind tastings, side-by-side reviews, and interviews with people in the industry. While the hosts don’t claim to be experts, they do an excellent job providing listeners with useful information. As they say themselves, “At the end of the day, we know you just want to know if the whiskey is worth spending any money on.” Also, congratulations to the Dads Drinking Bourbon team on their 400th episode!

Latest episode: Review: IT’S OUR 400TH EPISODE! And we drink Barrell Batch 33

Image: Andrzej Nowak from Pixabay

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

KRG Hospitality’s Top Bourbon Articles

KRG Hospitality’s Top Bourbon Articles

by David Klemt

Glass of bourbon whiskey next to fire

To inspire and help you program for National Bourbon Heritage Month, enjoy this roundup of our top bourbon articles.

For bourbon lovers specifically and those who appreciate whiskey in general, this is an exciting month. You can leverage that excitement throughout the month of September.

From limited time offers to pour specials and offering guests to try new bottles, National Bourbon Heritage Month is perfect for becoming a person’s go-to bourbon bar. Our resources below will help you achieve that status.

Cheers!

9 Bottles for Bourbon Heritage Month

Nine awesome bottles in three separate pricing categories. Here you’ll find bottles that retail for less than $25, several under $100, and a few that cost up to $150. Click here to read.

The 30 Days of Bourbon Challenge

In 2011, bourbon devotee and advocate Patrick Garrett founded Bourbon & Banter “to spread the Bourbon Gospel.” One way they accomplish this mission is through 30 Days of Bourbon. This challenge is simple but intriguing: Try a different bourbon every day in September. Click here to learn more.

National Bourbon Day: 2022 Trends

The history and heritage of bourbon is important. As America’s native spirit, bourbon’s history is particularly important to the nation. However, innovation and trends are crucial to the future of bourbon. In this article we examine four important 2022 bourbon trends. Click here to read.

7 Whiskeys for National Bourbon Day

Before we celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month each year we celebrate National Bourbon Day. It’s always fun to see what new and exciting bottles are available, like these seven bottles from 2021. Click here.

8 Bottles for Bourbon Day

Of course, we’re celebrating National Bourbon Heritage Month 2022 this year. So, here are eight bottles worth checking out and adding to your inventory. Click here to review these bottles.

8 Bourbon Cocktails You Need to Know

Contrary to what some purists will tell you (whether you ask them or not), bourbon is great in a cocktail. From the ubiqutious Old Fashioned to the modern classic Billionaire, this article dives into eight bourbon cocktails you and your bar team need to know. And, of course, they’re perfect for National Bourbon Heritage Month limited time only menu. Click here to learn more.

7 Great Books About Bourbon

Sure, it’s awesome to enjoy a bourbon with friends. But what about pouring a dram of your favorite bourbon while reading about bourbon? Grab one or more of these books, pair them with a beautiful bourbon, and start expanding your whiskey knowledge today. Click here for our book recommendations.

Rabbit Hole Resources: Bourbon 101

When it comes to learning about a particular spirit, those producing them tend to know the most. So, seeking education straight from the source is a smart move. Rabbit Hole is creating, curating, and growing free bourbon resources. Have a question? They’ve got the answers, and then some. Click here.

Image: Thomas Park on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: Sept. 2022

Stand Out with Weird Holidays: September 2022

by David Klemt

Stay Weird neon sign with purple background

Want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Then commit to keeping it weird.

Several “holidays” are set against every date on the calendar, and September is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to “weird.”

Pay attention to the latter to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, weird or otherwise. And this month’s list in no way includes every odd holiday.

Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

For August’s list, click here.

September 5: Be Late for Something Day

You know what’s a great reason to be late from something? Enjoying an awesome meal or some great drinks with friends. Your bar or restaurant can provide that awesome meal and great drinks.

September 6: National Read a Book Day

As you know if you’ve been visiting KRG Hospitality throughout the week or subscribe to our newsletter, we love recommending good books. Cookbooks, cocktail books, hospitality industry history books, leadership books… We’re all about learning.

This is an excellent day to promote swapping books, recommending books, sharing books, etc.

September 8: National Ampersand Day

If there was ever a day that demands food/and or drink combos, it’s National Ampersand Day. For example, this is the perfect bar holiday to create a beer and shot limited-time offer menu.

September 13: National Positive Thinking Day

Restaurants and bars are the cornerstsones of their communities. One way operators and their teams can support their community is by ensuring they provide a positive experience.

On this day, encourage your community to stop in for a bite, a drink, a chat, and an overall happy, healthy time.

September 14: National Eat a Hoagie Day

No, hoagies aren’t weird…in Philadelphia. Everywhere else, it can sometimes be a “weird” thing to call a submarine sandwich. At any rate, guess what food you should create an LTO around on this holiday.

September 17: National Monte Cristo Day

You don’t have to agree with me, but this weird sandwich is my favorite. Sure, burgers are cool. But have you ever dipped a ham’n’cheese or turkey’n’cheese in egg, fried it, then dusted it with powdered sugar? Even weirder, have you used corn flakes as breading and then fried it? Put a few Monte Cristos on your menu to celebrate this glorious sandwich holiday.

September 22: Car Free Day

This one’s pretty simple: Encourage and incentivize your guests to use any mode of travel that isn’t a car/truck/SUV to come to your restaurant or bar. I, for one, will be opting for my motorcycle, which I don’t need to mention here but I’m going to anyway because I love it.

September 24: Innergize Day

First, a disclaimer: This isn’t a day celebrating a “performance” drink brand. Rather, Innergize Day is about relaxing and recouping. I’m sure you can see where your restaurant, bar or hotel fits in with this holiday.

September 25: National One-hit Wonder Day

This one’s simple: Commit to playing only one-hit wonders. People love nostalgia, particularly when it comes to music. Either create a playlist or hire a DJ, and if you’re feeling creative, put some themed drinks on your menu.

September 27: National Crush a Can Day

You don’t have to encourage your guests to literally crush cans to celebrate this day. Really, this is a great way to make people aware of your craft beers, RTDs, canned wines, and other canned beverages on your menu.

Image: Dan Parlante on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

8 Books to Read this Month: TOTC Edition

8 Books to Read this Month: Tales of the Cocktail Edition

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections consist of the eight finalists from two of the 2022 Spirited Awards writing categories.

For your convenience, the award winner kicks off each category below. To review July’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book

WINNER: The Japanese Art of the Cocktail

This is the first cocktail book written by Masahiro Urushido, the award-winning bartender from NYC’s Katana Kitten. After just one year with Urushido at the helm, Katana Kitten took home a 2019 Spirited Award. The Japanese Art of the Cocktail features 80 recipes and serves as a deep dive into a unique approach to cocktails and technique.

Death & Co: Welcome Home

The third book from Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan, the team behind Death & Co., features more than 400 recipes. Now, while this book targets home bartenders, it’s also beneficial to bar professionals as it delves into the Death & Co. cocktail development program. Is that worth a $35 investment? Absolutely. Pick up  Death & Co. Welcome Home today.

The Cocktail Seminars

As the story goes, author Brian D. Hoefling taught his fellow Yale students about cocktails and build techniques during his senior year. The Cocktail Seminars is a collection of five of Hoefling’s education seminars and spans 30 cocktail recipes. Along with technique, readers will learn about the history of cocktails, which they and their bar teams can leverage to engage with guests.

The Way of the Cocktail: Japanese Traditions, Techniques, and Recipes

The Way of the Cocktail comes from Julia Momosé, one of the minds behind Chicago cocktail destination Kumiko. From classics to new riffs, the recipes in this book are based on 24 micro-seasons.

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits

WINNER: The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails

David Wondrich and Noah Rothbaum team up for likely the deepest dive into the role alcohol plays in human history. The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails is everything you ever wanted to know about fermentation, distillation, aging, cocktails, cocktail bars, and more. In addition to global techniques and processes, readers will be treated to illustrations, a guide to making drinks, and even a timeline of distillation and spirits.

Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey

Clay Risen is considered an authority on spirits. In particular, he’s lauded as an expert on whiskey. Bourbon lovers will appreciate the Bourbon: The Story of Kentucky Whiskey box set for what it is: a definitive history of America’s native spirit. Along with profiles of Kentucky distillers, Risen has included interviews and photographs to tell the story of bourbon.

Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization

Edward Slingerland takes a look at not just the history of imbibing but what has motivated humans to catch a buzz with alcohol. Drunk goes far beyond anecdotes, myth and lore and uses science to address why alcohol is so important to so many people. More case study than well-spun yarn, Drunk is as entertaining as it is investigative.

Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

Written by Mallory O’Meara, Girly Drinks takes a hard look at the gendering of bars, brewing, distillation, and drinking culture. O’Meara also delves into the history and cultural importance of women bartenders like Ada Coleman, creator of the Hanky Panky.

“Filling a crucial gap in culinary history, O’Meara dismantles the long-standing patriarchal traditions at the heart of these very drinking cultures, in the hope that readers everywhere can look to each celebrated woman in this book—and proudly have what she’s having.”

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Tales Reveals 2022 Spirited Awards Winners

Tales of the Cocktail Reveals 2022 Spirited Awards Winners

2022 Spirited Award winner Lynn House

2022 Spirited Award winner Lynn House

Congratulations to the 2022 Spirited Awards winners, revealed last week during the 20th anniversary of Tales of the Cocktail.

First opening their doors in 2018, NYC’s Katana Kitten took home two awards. The dream team trio of Masahiro Urushido, Greg Boehm, and James Tune won Best US Cocktail Bar and best US Bar team.

Another American venue that won two Spirited Awards is Jewel of the South in New Orleans. Opened in 2019, Jewel of the South was crowned Best US Restaurant Bar. Additionally, the US Bartender of the Year is Chris Hannah, co-owner of the NOLA dining and drinking destination.

We also want to extend a special congratulations to Bar Hacks guest Lynn House. To learn more about House, this year’s Best US Brand Ambassador, check out episode 52 of Bar Hacks.

Internationally, two bars also took home multiple awards. 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name and Lyaness at Sea Containers London, both in London, won two Spirited Awards. The former is this year’s Best New International Cocktail Bar. Plus, it’s the home of Remy Savage, the 2022 International Bartender of the Year.

Lyaness at Sea Containers London clinched Best International Hotel Bar andWorld’s Best Bar. So, London, New Orleans, and New York showed out at the 2022 Spirited Awards.

To view the finalists in each category, please click here.

US Award Categories

U.S. Bartender of the Year presented by Del Maguey: Chris Hannah (Jewel of the South, New Orleans, LA)

Best U.S. Bar Mentor presented by BarSmarts: Sean Kenyon

Best U.S. Brand Ambassador presented by Libbey: Lynn House (Heaven Hill)

Best U.S. Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons: Katana Kitten (New York, NY)

Best U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Absolut Vodka: Katana Kitten (New York, NY)

Best U.S. Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose: Silver Lyan at the Riggs (Washington, DC)

Best U.S. Restaurant Bar presented by Maison Ferrand: Jewel of the South (New Orleans, LA)

Best New U.S. Cocktail Bar presented by Aviation Gin: Happy Accidents (Albuquerque, NM)

International Award Categories

International Bartender of the Year presented by Patrón Tequila: Remy Savage (🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London, UK)

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic: Lauren Mote

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic: Martin Hudak (Mr. Black Spirits)

Best International Bar Team presented by House of Angostura: MAYBE SAMMY (Sydney, Australia)

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Tequila Fortaleza: Tayēr + Elementary (London, UK)

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Perrier: Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Amaro Montenegro and Select Aperitivo: Sexy Fish (London, UK)

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Stranger & Sons: 🔶🟥🔵 A Bar with Shapes for a Name (London, UK)

Global Award Categories

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation: Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Italian Orange

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy: Little Red Door (Paris, France)

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Beam Suntory: Jack Rose Dining Saloon (Washington, DC)

Pioneer Award Presented by The Blend: Amanda Gunderson (CEO and co-founder, Another Round Another Rally)

Timeless International Award presented by Jägermeister: Harry’s New York Bar (Paris, France)

Timeless U.S. Award presented by Johnnie Walker: Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel (New York, NY)

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award presented by William Grant & Sons: Julie Reiner (Co-founder Clover Club, Leyenda, Social Hour Cocktails, Mixtress Consulting)

World’s Best Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation: Lyaness at Sea Containers London (London, UK)

Writing and Media Award Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Diageo Bar Academy: VinePair

Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Diageo Bar Academy: The Cocktail Lovers

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Diageo Bar Academy: “Get Real: The bar world looks beyond feel-good measures on sustainability and climate change” by Max Falkowitz for Imbibe Magazine

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic: The Japanese Art of the Cocktail by Masahiro Urushido and Michael Anstendig

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Diageo Bar Academy: The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails edited by David Wondrich with Noah Rothbaum

Image: Cory Fontenot

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

Cheese Pairings: Wine, Beer, Spirits

by David Klemt

Wine glasses and cheese board

National Wine and Cheese Day is Monday, July 25, so let’s take a look at pairings that will get mouths watering.

According to historians, people have been pairing wine with cheese for several centuries. And per scientists, this legendary pairing makes a lot of sense.

Cheese is, obviously, fatty. Further, fat is oily. Then we have alcohol, which is astringement. When we eat cheese or other fatty/oily foods, they coat the mouth. As we also know, alcohol tends to dry out our mouths.

So, the theory as to why pairing cheese with wine works comes down to balance. Of course, there’s a term for this balance you likely know: mouthfeel.

However, science has an additional theory about wine and cheese. For this theory, we look at the “flavor spectrum.” Flavors that are far apart from one another are often pleasant to us.

As an example, not many of us would appreciate a slice of cheddar cheese on top of a cheddar cheese-flavored cracker dipped in cheddar cheese sauce. That would be monotonous and boring.

Wine Pairings

  • Chardonnay and Camembert
  • Riesling and Raclette
  • Gewürztraminer and Edam
  • Pinot Grigio/Gris and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Chenin Blanc and Chèvre
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Gouda
  • Champagne and Brie
  • Prosecco and Asiago
  • Rosé and Havarti or Fontina
  • Pinot Noir and Gruyère
  • Merlot and Camembert or Gorgonzola
  • Shiraz (Australian-style varietal) and sharp Cheddar or smoked Gouda
  • Syrah (French-style varietal) and Pecorino or Roquefort
  • Malbec and Manchego
  • Sangiovese and Fontina or Parmigiano Reggiano

Beer Pairings

Perhaps your guests would prefer to celebrate National Wine and Cheese Day with a substitution. Like, for instance, swapping out wine for beer.

Well, it turns out cheese goes great with many styles of beer.

  • American Pale Ale and American Cheddar
  • Amber Ale and Gouda or Brie
  • Witbier and goat cheese
  • Hefeweisen and Feta
  • American Lager and Mozzarella
  • American Pilsner and Chèvre
  • IPA and Parmigiano Reggiano or Blue Cheese
  • Brown Ale and Gouda
  • Porter and Muenster or Gruyère
  • Stout and Blue Cheese

Spirits Pairings

Hey, beer isn’t the only beverage that we can swap with wine. Interestingly, several categories of spirit pair well with cheese.

As with wine and beer, it’s crucial to try pairings with specific spirits before offering them to guests.

  • Vodka and Cheddar or Blue Cheese
  • Gin: London Dry and Pecorino; Genever and Triple Cream Brie; Plymouth and Époisses de Bourgogne
  • Brandy and Butterkäse
  • Rum and Fontina
  • Mezcal and aged Cheddar or Pecorino
  • Tequila: Blanco and Brie or Feta; Reposado and Manchego; Añejo and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Bourbon and Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Rye and Gouda
  • Irish whiskey and Brie or Camembert
  • Scotch: Light-bodied and Comté; Full-bodied and Stilton. For a deeper dive into pairing Scotch with cheese, click here.

Image: Allison Kettlety on Unsplash

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